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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2008 Aug;19(3):829-41. doi: 10.1353/hpu.0.0043.

HIV prevention for Black women: structural barriers and opportunities.

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Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, 246 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A1.


Black women bear a disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS in North America. The purpose of this investigation was to explore Black Canadian women's perspectives on HIV risk and prevention. Four 90-minute focus groups (n=26) and six key informant interviews were conducted in Toronto with Black women of African and Caribbean descent and low socioeconomic status. Data analysis revealed a number of potent barriers to existing HIV preventive interventions: stigma, cultural disconnections, lack of engagement of Black religious institutions, and multiple intersecting forms of discrimination. Recommended HIV prevention opportunities included the Black church, mainstreaming, health care providers, and ethno-specific agencies. HIV prevention strategies for North American Black women, rather than focusing on HIV and individual risk behaviors, may benefit from a primary focus on social and structural factors (e.g., promoting gender equality, economic opportunity, women-controlled prevention technologies and combating racism in health care) thereby integrating HIV prevention into the larger context of community health and survival.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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